Will my house ever sell?!?

Sometimes selling your home in Metro Phoenix in 2010 can feel like a lot of hurry up and wait.  There are some things you can do to make the process quicker and less stressful.  This is reprinted from December 6, 2008. Gives you a little idea how long sellers have been struggling to sell their homes.

A Few Ideas for Handling Seller’s Stress

  1. Paint everything: every wall, baseboard, door frame and window frame. Inside and out. Year after year, national studies reveal that a fresh coat of paint provides something like a 400% return on investment.

  2. Invest $20 or $30 in a brand new, thick and cushy welcome mat for the front door. First impressions count.

  3. Weed out your closets and bookcases. Pack up 1/3 of what’s in there. Donate it or store it for your upcoming move.

  4. Take everything off the kitchen fridge. Buyers aren’t considering buying your 5-year old’s macaroni craft project so they don’t need to see it. They also don’t need to know what time Johnny has soccer practice or which Doctor Susie sees.

  5. Enlist the entire family in keeping the house clean for showings.

  6. To present the appearance of a clean house in under 5 minutes: wipe down counters, kitchen appliances and mirrors with diluted Windex or plain diluted ammonia. (Windex costs more but smells better)

  7. Hide your personal papers, bills, and so forth from the office/desk area (it’s nobody else’s business).

  8. Take down family photos from every wall and dresser top.

  9. Remove the prescriptions from the medicine cabinet (yes, people WILL look. Potential buyers do not need to know that you’re mixing a custom cocktail of Prozac and Viagra.

  10. If possible, find temporary foster homes for your pets. Try family, friends and/or neighbors. This is challenging but important. I love my cat. But if my house smells like cat, it WILL NOT sell.

  11. Take up yoga, tai-chi or meditation.

  12. Ignore your neighbors’ asking prices; concentrate on nearby sold prices.

  13. While you’re at it, (mostly) ignore your friends’ and family’s advice. They are not Realtors. You hired a Realtor for a reason. Ask questions, request documentation of market trends, but trust him/her.

  14. If your Realtor isn’t giving you a weekly or every-other-week update, ask for one.

  15. Write a counteroffer for every offer you receive, even the ones that make you want to scream profanities at the buyer (and see below about Handling Low Ball Offers)

Related Posts:

With MLS photos, details really matter


what a difference a door makes, before


what a difference a door makes, after

There are a few crucial details that made the After picture much more appealing (not counting the angle at which the photos were taken):

  • red door

  • black shutters

  • green grass

  • possibly fresh granite gravel in the semi-circle shape

  • flowerbed filled with red flowers

  • white window rollershades all the way down

Red shows up exceptionally well on the Internet, where something like 90% of home buyers start their search. Yellow is the same. The contrast between the black shutters & white house is also eye-catching.

Usually I don’t recommend or like head-on photos of the front of a home. It tends to make the house look one-dimensional, as if it could be a movie facade. But in this case, it works, proving there’s an exception to every rule.

I'm betting the cash outlay for this seller was about $200 for the door, $120 for shutters and another $100 or $150 for the plants. Granite gravel can be pricey, as can sod. But as you can see, the results are beautiful and buyers will respond by coming to look in person.

More proof that a couple hundred of these

Image ID 377234 by Stock Exchange user ede design ($1 bill picture courtesy of Stock Exchange user Leonardini)

can frequently get you several dozen of these

Dollars seamless background. ($100 bill picture courtesy of Stock Exchange user ede design)

at closing time.

Photo credits - Joanna Siravo of Coldwell Banker and Lisa M. Juel of John Hall & Associates. Disclosure: photos were taken about 3 years apart, this wasn’t a seller doing a fix-up before listing for sale. This Realtor was not involved in the sale of the home in either time frame.

Changes to lead paint rules

Updated April 23  - Fantastic website launched by the EPA, HUD, the Ad Council and the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning. Get the facts about lead paint, prevention tips, and guidelines for Do It Yourself home renovations involving the potential to disturb lead paint. (

As of April 22, 2010 federal laws regarding safe handling of lead based paint are changing. They’re becoming much more restrictive.

Though aimed mostly at contractors, who must now be EPA certified in safe lead based paint handling law, homeowners should take note. If you’ve ever done a renovation project you know that paint & plaster dust is everywhere! Even a simple project like hanging a new bookshelf can disturb quite a lot of plaster & paint dust.

Dust? I thought the problem was paint chips. . .

Federal law is changing because we’ve become increasingly aware that it’s not just  a matter of “don’t let your kids eat paint chips”. Rather, it’s the dust that renovations cause that is truly dangerous. "Even though lead-based paint was banned for use in the home in 1978, HUD estimates that approximately 24 million homes still have significant lead-based paint hazards today."  (quote source). Further, some statistics taken in Maine showed that 60% of lead paint poisoning incidents were caused by renovation activities (Nat'l Assn of Realtors, via video link below).

Lead Based Paint chart shows older homes at more risk

The simple fact of the matter is that the older your home, the more likely it is to contain lead-based paint.

Check out the EPA’s homeowner’s guide to lead-based paint. Also, check the EPA’s online document designed to educate contractors on how to comply with the new rule. Frankly between you and me, it’s not a great document. However, the National Association of Realtors produced a series of nifty videos about the rule change. It’s aimed at Realtors but still way easier to digest than the EPA’s government-produced document aimed at contractors. Go figure.

Your rethinking my devotion to historic homes Realtor,

Heather Barr

Paint Your Pool Electric Blue

Doesn’t this pool look a little TOO blue to you?

Paint your Pool Electric Blue

I just recently found out there’s such a thing as blue paint for plaster pools. It turns the pool into a shockingly bright baby blue.

In defense of this pool owner, I don’t know for a fact they painted it. It just caught my eye in the MLS because it's the same shade of shocking blue Chris and I have seen lately in a few fix and flips in the under $150,000 price point.

Honestly, we walked around and around said pools, puzzling over why they were so blue. We figured it was one more thing to verify during the Due Diligence Period, until one of us found used paint cans stacked in the backyard. Sure enough, they were labeled for use on pools and had dried paint drips in the same shocking blue hue running down the sides of the cans.

Blue pool paint. Who’d a thunk it?

Technorati Tags:

Beige Paint Sells Houses

I’ve written before about “real estate beige”, and Chris Butterworth has written about getting a crisp, clean line between two colors of paint.

This is a textbook example of real estate beige.

Real estate beige, textbook example

This is exactly the tonal difference you’re aiming for when repainting beige to sell your home. And believe me, nothing impresses buyers more than a neat coat of beige paint on the walls and crisp, shiny white trim. Don’t believe me? BigMedia printed the evidence of this recently…

HomeGain Top 10 Home Improvements and ROI

(click chart to embiggen; click browser's Back to return)

Painting the interior returns 250% on your investment. Holy Off-White Latex Liquid, Batman!

It’s the same reason car dealers detail every car they sell. We’re all suckers for clean & neat. Sellers, take note. Grab your paint brushes and bring home the bacon.